All thirty-three Formula 1 World Champions have been honoured as the FIA inaugurated the new Hall of Fame in Paris, with nine of those champions in attendance on Monday.
The Hall of Fame was launched at the headquarters of the ACF in Paris in conjunction with official partners Michelin and Rolex, with Sir Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti being joined by fellow champions Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg at the ceremony, as well as representatives and family members of other F1 champions.
“The FIA Hall of Fame has been created to highlight the values that run through motor sport and the champions who have been and who still are the exemplars of the FIA’s values of commitment, integrity, respect and sportsmanship,” said FIA President Jean Todt.
“This is the first stage of an ambitious project: the FIA Hall of Fame will soon expand to the FIA headquarters in Geneva, and other champions and other disciplines will be in the spotlight in the coming years.
“In this way we will celebrate all the FIA champions who have made, and who still make the history of motor sport so incredibly rich and inspiring.”
The first drivers to be inducted were those with just the one title to their name, starting with Giuseppe Farina back in the inaugural Formula 1 season in 1950 right through to Nico Rosberg in 2016.
World Champions with One Title
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“It was always very difficult to get it through my head that I’d become a world champion at all, so the thrill continues, and it just an amazing honour to be included,” said 1996 champion Damon Hill.
“You see the people who are here and the names mentioned – Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Sir Jackie Stewart and it’s hard to believe I’m in the same gang. So, congratulations to the FIA for instigating the Hall of Fame and thank your for including me.”
The drivers with either two or three championships were then honoured, with three-time champions Sir Jack Brabham, Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna being honoured alongside double champions Alberto Ascari, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mika Hakkinen and Alonso.
World Champions with Two and Three Titles
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“It has been a fantastic night,” said 2005 and 2006 champion Fernando Alonso. “I’m very honoured to be here with these great champions.
“All of them inspired me to become a Formula One driver, they inspired all the kids of my generation, so I feel very proud.”
Four-time champions Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were then inducted, as was five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio, before the induction of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.
“We all know Michael should be here and I am totally sure he would love to be here,” said Schumacher’s long-time manager Sabine Kehm, who accepted the award on his behalf.
“He always had the highest respect for everyone in this room and he would be very honoured. What made Michael so special, what made him so successful was, as with everybody in this room, a love and passion for this sport.”
World Champions with Four, Five and Seven Titles
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Vettel, who came close to becoming a five-time champion in 2017 after a great battle with Hamilton throughout the season, says a Hall of Fame keeps the history of the sport alive.
“It’s been incredible to see all these names, all these faces,” said Vettel, World Champion for four consecutive years between 2010 and 2013. “Obviously a lot of them I only know from what I have read, what I have seen, but I think it’s a great idea.
“There’s so much history in the sports, it’s still so alive, and thanks to events like tonight’s, we’ll keep it like that. I love racing but as you get older you change your way of thinking and I think your appreciation for things and definitely for things like tonight grows.”